Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 2, 1869
Place of BirthOntario
Marital StatusMarried
Next of KinFanny Gage Welfley (wife), Chesley P.O., Brant Township, Bruce County, Ontario
Trade / CallingLumber merchant
Service Details
Regimental Number532371
Service RecordLink to Service Record
BattalionNo. 12 Field Ambulance
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Army Medical Corps
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentWinnipeg, Manitoba
Address at EnlistmentChesley P.O., Ontario
Date of EnlistmentJune 6, 1916
Age at Enlistment47
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJune 30, 1928
Age at Death59
Buried AtElmwood Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Welfley, Frederick Henry

Private Frederick Henry Welfley enlisted in Winnipeg in June 1916 and served overseas with the Canadian Army Medical Corps for three years.

Frederick was the son of Martin and Magdalena Woelfle of Bentinck Township, Grey County, Ontario. Martin and Magdalena were both from Germany and Frederick was one of at least fourteen children, all born in Ontario. He was probably born in 1869 and he grew up in Bentinck Township where his parents farmed. They later moved to the village of Chesley in Brant Township, Bruce County. At some point Frederick married Frances (Fanny) Dodsworth and they had a son, Cecil Roy. Roy was born in 1896 in the town of Rat Portage (later called Kenora), in northwestern Ontario. Frederick became involved in the lumber industry and by the time Roy was born he had changed the spelling of his surname to Welfley. By 1901 he and Fanny were living in Winnipeg and his occupation was contractor.

The war started in August 1914 and Frederick and Roy both enlisted about two years later. Frederick signed up in Winnipeg on 6 June 1916, joining No. 12 Field Ambulance in the Canadian Army Medical Corps. His gave his address as Chesley, Ontario and next of kin as his wife Fanny in Chesley. His occupation was lumber merchant and he was probably still working in Winnipeg. Frederick passed himself off as 44 years old but he was most likely 47 at the time. He headed overseas with his unit shortly after enlisting, embarking from Montreal on 23 June on the SS Scandinavian and arriving at Liverpool ten days later.

No. 12 Field Ambulance spent about five weeks in England before being sent to France on 11 August. The recruits disembarked at Le Havre the following day. Frederick served in France for almost three years. Field ambulances operated advanced and main dressing stations, which were located just behind the front lines. They provided short term medical care, collecting casualties, treating them and evacuating them to the clearing stations and hospitals as needed. They also operated rest stations and provided stretcher bearers for moving the wounded. Frederick was appointed as a clerk in his unit in January 1917. He had ten days leave in Paris in June 1917 and two weeks leave in the UK in January 1918. In March he was temporarily attached to the Canadian Red Cross Society.

Frederick began suffering from myalgia in June 1918 but he served in France for another year. He returned to England on 4 June 1919 and was posted to the Canadian Army Medical Corps Casualty Company. He sailed from Southampton on 28 June on the SS Mauretania, arriving in Halifax about a week later. He was discharged on demobilization on 8 July in Winnipeg, with Winnipeg listed as his intended residence. His son Cecil Roy Welfley had enlisted in the fall of 1916 and he served for two and a half years in Canada, the UK and France. He returned to Canada in May 1919 and also made his home in Winnipeg. Roy served again in the Second World War.

After his service Frederick was employed by the Winnipeg City Housing Commission from 1919 until about 1924, when he started working as a druggist. He was very involved in curling both before and after the war and he played with several teams and in many bonspiels. He passed away in St. Boniface Hospital on 30 June 1928, at age 59. His funeral was held three days later and he’s buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Winnipeg. His wife Frances passed away in 1931 and she’s buried at St. John’s Anglican Cathedral Cemetery. Their son Roy and his wife are also interred at St. John’s.

By Becky Johnson

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